Indian group Ashok Leyland - India's second-largest truck and bus maker - is to invest some US$655m in joint ventures during the next few years according to local media.

The spend would be primarily for Ashok's involvement with Nissan Motor to build light commercial vehicles and engines, as well as a venture with John Deere to make construction equipment.

"We will also be investing a smaller amount into our Alwar facility to make it into a fully integrated bus plant," managing director R Seshasayee said.

Nissan Motor is also talking about the possible development of a small car with Ashok Leyland, according to local reports.

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said at the Geneva show this week: "We are studying the possibility of tying up with Ashok Leyland and some other manufacturers in China and Indonesia for a small car project."

This is additional to a Renault-Nissan alliance tie-up with Bajaj Auto to make an ultra low-cost car due out in 2012 to undercut Tata's Nano.